The Next Time You Hop On the Treadmill, Do This to Burn More Calories


Chillier Fall air, possible thunderstorms, and unpredictable weather as well as less sunlight this time of year may be one reason to take refuge in your trusty ol’ gym. Treadmills might feel safer and more controlled, but you might even find the workout feels a little easier. Don’t sell yourself short! Use these tips to upgrade your treadmill time and maximize the benefits of your run.

To Burn More Calories

  • Do intervals: Running at a consistent pace is great for longer training runs, but during shorter workouts, increase the intensity by including speed intervals. By alternating between running a few minutes at a moderate pace and throwing in bursts at a quicker pace (or even sprinting), you’ll burn more calories, build endurance, and become a faster, stronger runner. Not to mention, intervals have also been proven to fight belly fat. Here’s a 30-minute treadmill interval workout for you to try.
  • Gradually increase your speed throughout your workout: Running faster burns more calories, and since you don’t want to start your run at a seven mile per hour (mph) pace, start out with a brisk walk (four mph) and every two to five minutes, give your speed a little push until you’re running at a five to eight mph pace.
  • Run longer: It’s good to mix up the type of running workouts you do, so on days that you’re not running intervals or building up speed, do a longer run at a consistent pace. If you run for 30 minutes (at a pace of 10 minutes per mile) you’llburn 270 calories. Forty-five minutes burns 405 calories, and an hourlong run burns 540 calories.

To Strengthen Your Muscles

  • Raise the incline: Hills help to target your thighs, calves, and booty, so pump up the incline and you’ll notice a little extra power in your lower body. Doing hill work will also help prevent shin splints.
  • Incorporate walking lunges: Slow down the speed, take wider steps, and do walking lunges to tone your tush and legs.
  • Let go of the handles and pump your arms: Using your upper body while running not only tones your biceps, triceps, and shoulders, but since you’re balancing without holding on, you’ll also tone your core.

To Increase Your Speed

  • Incorporate tempo runs: If you want to run faster, you must practice running at a faster pace. Tempo work involves running slightly faster than your normal, comfortable pace for a steady period of time. After warming up, set your desired pace on the treadmill and run. The treadmill is like a metronome forcing you to keep tempo.
  • Practice negative splits: This technique involves running the second half of a run at a faster pace than the first half. It seems like it might make your total time slower, but conserving your energy in the beginning and allowing your muscles to warm up will actually help you comfortably increase your pace on the second half of your workout, so you end up with a faster time. Find more about the benefit of training with negative splits here.
  • Include intervals with incline: Throughout your workout, periodically raise the incline for a few minutes to represent the hills you’d find on a trail run. Then when you lower the slope to a flat position, you’ll feel stronger and be able to run much faster.






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The Top 7 Benefits Of Lunges


There are many potential advantages to including lunges in your routine. After some thinking, I was able to come up with seven lunge benefits (though I might have missed some). Check ’em out below…

1. Better Balance

Lunges are unilateral exercises, meaning that they train one side of your body independently from the other.

Training one side at a time vastly improves your balance and coordination.

Bilateral leg exercises like the squat and deadlift are best for overall strength and muscle building purposes. But they simply can’t deliver the balance and stabilization benefits that lunges do.

2. Be More Functional!

This compound leg exercise is hailed by many as the ultimate lower body “functional” exercise.

Although the true definition of a functional exercise is a hotly debated fitness topic, it is essentially an exercise that directly improves your performance of natural, everyday movements.

Lunges, no doubt fall into the functional category because – think about it – you’re training the movement of walking (albeit by taking huge steps)!

3. Superior Symmetry

Possibly the best benefit of the lunge exercise is that you can “even out” strength and muscular imbalances by bringing your weak side up to par with your stronger side.

In effect, this can improve your strength on squats and deadlifts because you eliminate the “weak link” that would otherwise hold back your progress.

4. Increased Hip Flexor Flexibility

The lunge technique forces you to stretch your hip flexor muscles, which are chronically tight for many individuals in today’s increasingly sedentary world.

The lunge exercise certainly isn’t the end-all, be-all for hip flexibility. But it’s a good start! For a more complete solution to your flexibility woes, implement a well-structured stretching and mobility routine.

5. Improved Glute Activation

benefits of lunging woman squatting








Most lifters cannot fully utilize their gluteal muscles because they are inhibited by overactive hip flexors and spinal erectors.

However, these overactive muscles are neutralized when performing lunges (with proper form). The result is that your body is in a position where you’re able to isolate and activate the glutes.

Note: exercises like the glute bridge, glute-ham raise or cable pull through should also be used if glute activation is a primary goal.

6. Better Core Stability

You can say that nearly all weight lifting exercises improve your core stability (i.e. the ability to control spinal and pelvic position, particularly during movement). However, lunges make most of these exercises appear insignificant in this regard.

With lunges, you have to work hard to keep your torso upright – without using spinal extension to compensate for poor pelvic position – as you lunge up and down. It’s easier said than done.

7. Spinal Deloading

The lunge, especially the dumbbell variation, deloads your spine. Exercises like squats do the opposite.

Spinal loading isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. However, deloading is beneficial for giving your spine some rest and recovery especially if you’ve been training for a while.

As an experienced lifter, you’re physically capable of introducing greater compressional pressures on your spine compared to novices. Therefore, utilizing lunges for light leg workouts, or as a complementary exercise on heavy workouts, gives your spine some much-needed rest.

Reminder: Proper Technique Is Required To Reap The Rewards

If you want to maximize the benefits of lunges, ensure you’re using proper form by reading my dumbbell lunge guide. (Note: I don’t have a barbell lunge guide yet. However, the barbell lunge form is the same as what I describe in the dumbbell lunge link; except, of course, you hold a barbell on your upper back instead of dumbbells at your side).

Additionally, I recommend looking into the split squat and Bulgarian split squat if you’re looking for leg exercises with similar benefits.






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Hi everyone! It’s been a month since I started my new diet and working out.. and it hasn’t been easy but seeing the changes and improvement within my body (inside and out) has kept me motivated to continue my Journey to Fitness..


In the beginning many people commented that I was already “fit” and “lean” and my body needed little to no change BUT just because I look fit and lean on the outside doesn’t mean I’m as healthy and strong on the inside!

In regards to my curves? It’s genetics and I’m very thankful for them. My deceptively flat tummy? Only on my “good” days but thanks to my new lifestyle, hard work and discipline, they’re getting better. Sculpted abs? HA! Far from it, still got a lot of work to do but hopefully they’ll start to pop in another month or two. There’s no short cut to my “ideal” body, but I’m willing to put in what it takes to get the results.

No matter how fit, or in shape, or skinny or muscular someone may be, there’s always room for improvement, there’s always room for progress and I’m not going to let other’s opinions (no matter how good their intentions might be) stop me from making changes for the better or set me back on the path of complacency. I am doing this because I want to be healthier and stronger and achieve the best me I can, no matter how challenging the journey gets. Because in the end, I know it will be all worth it!

Beef Stew with Quinoa & Steamed Broccoli


This meal is my post workout meal, it’s protein packed… It has 569 calories… People who  do any type of weight training and lift heavy need a lot of protein and you can get that from pork, beef, chicken, fish, cheese, tofu, beans, lentils, yogurt, eggs, nuts, and seeds… and for me to get the best muscles I can get I try to stick to lean, clean meats and stay away from those of higher fat content.

Here’s the breakdown:

150g Beef Stew = 435 calories

30g Quinoa = 120 calories

40g  Broccoli = 14 calories


I hit up lower body and did some HIIT on the treadmill today, nothing too exciting but burned some cals and conditioned some muscles so I’m happy.

Well that’s it for now. If you missed the beginning of this journey you can read about it here. Until then, stay tuned for more of my Journey to Fitness!

-Apple Cider

5 Reasons Why Burpees Should Be Your Favorite Exercise


What do extreme athletes, elite military forces, and football teams have in common?

They all embrace burpees and regularly include them in their workout routines.

Lots, and lots, of burpees.

But burpees aren’t just beneficial for hardcore athletes or certified badasses…

They’re for everyone. 

That’s why we include so many burpees in the workouts in the official 12 Minute Athlete HIIT Workouts app—they’ll get you fitter than pretty much any other exercise can.

Because not only will burpees turn you into an athlete, they’ll also help you scorch fat, rev up your metabolism and get you conditioned like no other exercise can do.

But what the heck is a burpee… and why should you care?

Burpee basics

Burpees are an awesome, calorie-torching, strength-building, full body exercise.

Later in this post, you’ll learn why you should love them. But first, you need to know how exactly to actually do a burpee.

Just follow these simple steps:

  • First, stand up straight, then get into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
  • Kick your feet back into a push up position and immediately drop your chest to the ground.
  • Bow your chest up, then return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible.
  • Immediately jump up into the air as high as you can.
  • Add a little clap for pizzazz!

To see how it’s done, and to get a better idea of the pace you should try and keep, here’s a short video where I show you exactly how to do a proper burpee.

Burpees are all about speed, but don’t go too fast…or you’ll burn yourself out after doing just a few. Trust me.



And now, here are five reasons why burpees are awesome—and why they should be your new favorite exercise:

1. They burn mega calories

Burpees make your body a fat burning machine.

That’s because since burpees are an intense fully body exercise, they burn a ton of calories. Plus, research shows that high intensity exercises like burpees burn up to 50% more fat than moderate exercising.

And better yet, they speed up your metabolism throughout the day—meaning you’ll burn more calories all day long, even after your burpee hell is over.

So if you want to lose weight, ditch the recumbent bike and elliptical machine—and do some burpees instead.

2. They make you stronger

The burpee is a full body strength training exercise and the ultimate example of functional fitness.

With every rep, you’ll work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs. After a few sets of burpees, your legs should feel a little bit like lead.

3. They’re great for conditioning

Why do you think burpees are embraced in the hardest of workouts (like CrossFit)?

Because they’re great for developing conditioning and endurance! And they get your heart rate up—fast.

Burpees are a great way to get in shape quickly, whether your goal is to learn a new sport, train for a triathlon, hike a big mountain, or, just to look good.

4. They’re portable and require no equipment

The best thing about burpees? They require absolutely no equipment.

That’s right. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

You can do burpees in your house, in a nearby park, even in your hotel room.

5. You can add them to almost any workout

Unlike running, which is a slow, monotonous form of exercising (unless you’re sprinting), burpees are fast paced, dynamic, and never boring.

Like I already mentioned, adding burpees to your workout routine will bring you tons of benefits and whip you into shape quicker than you ever thought possible.

However, if you do have equipment available, there are tons of burpee variations you can do to mix things up. Here are a few:

Burpee pull ups. Do a burpee in front of a pull up bar, then do a (jumping) pull up.
Burpee knee ups. Do a burpee in front of your dip station or a set of chairs, then do a knee up.
Burpee box jumps. Do a burpee in front of a box or a high surface you can jump on, then do a box jump.

Be creative and come up with your own!

Give burpees a try

For a really awesome (and challenging) burpee workout, try doing 100 burpees in a row as fast as you can.

Some people look at this as an impossible workout—but it’s all about pacing yourself, and most of all, believing in yourself. See if you can beat my record of 6:13!


Now go do some burpees!






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6 Benefits Of Pull-ups


There are a lot of benefits of pull-ups. I could literally go on about the importance of this exercise all day, but today I’m going to talk about the top 6 benefits and I’m also going to give you a few tips on how to do more pull-ups.

Benefit #1: Convenience

Pullups are one of the most convenient exercises around. You can do this exercise pretty much anywhere. All you need is a bar and your body.

When I first started working out I took a metal pole that I found in the garbage and hung it my laundry room. Voila!

Benefit #2: Fundamental Compound Upper-body Exercise

I’ve stressed the importance of compound exercises in the past. Compound exercises are important because they target multiple muscle groups and trigger a release of growth hormone.

I’ve also talked about squats and what a great lower-body muscle building exercise they are.

Think of it this way – Pull-ups are to your upper body what squats are for your legs.

There is no other excise that will make your upper body grow quite like pull-ups. Specifically, pull-ups do a great job of targeting the back and biceps.

If you want a V-taper, pull-ups are a must!

Benefit #3: Easily Increase Intensity

Regularly increasing the intensity of your workouts is one of the secrets to building muscle.

Some exercises require you to get fancy with your workouts in order to increase the intensity, but not pull-ups.

You can boost the intensity of your back workout simply by strapping a weight plate to your waist or hanging a kettle bell or dumbbell from your feet.

Benefit #4: Many Variations

One of the best benefits of pull-ups is that there are so many different variations of the pull-up.

The great thing is that one variation doesn’t require any additional equipment than another variation. All you’ve got to do is change up your grip.

My favorite variation is the regular ole’ fashioned wide, overhand pull-up. This is the best variation for getting your lats to grow nice and wide.

Some other good variations are close grip pull-ups , and reverse grip pull-ups (also known as chin-ups).

I find that all of these variations do a great job of targeting my back, but reverse grip pull-ups (chin-ups) place more emphasis on the biceps.

I noticed a lot of progress in my bicep development once I started doing chin ups. So if you want big arms, make sure you’re doing chin ups

Benefit #5: Grip Strength

If you’re a serious bodybuilder, than having good grip strength is a must. Fortunately, pull-ups are the perfect exercise for strengthening your grip.

Benefit #6: Fat Loss

It’s not quite like running on a treadmill or jumping rope, but pull-ups will get your heart rate up and really kick your butt. If you want to boost the fat loss effects of pull-ups, decrease the time in-between sets or  super-set your pull-ups with another exercise.

That’s it. Those are my top 6 benefits of pull-ups.

Below you can find a list of pull-ups tips that should help you out in your quest to build a bigger upper body and do more pull-ups.

3 Tips To Be Able To Do More Pull-ups:

1. Pull-ups are superior to pull downs – Go to the gym any day of the week and I guarantee your chances of finding a free pull up bar is much higher than finding a free pull-down machine.

People are lazy these days, they would rather do what’s easy and comfortable than what’s hard, but more beneficial.

Pull downs are O.K. but they should be added to supplement your pull ups, not replace them

2. Assisted pull ups are superior to pull downs – Get out of your comfort zone. Even if you can’t do a pullup, try ditching the pull-down machine for the assisted pullup machine.

It’s not as embarrassing as you think. Each week you’ll make a little bit of progress and before you know it, you won’t have to use the assisted pull up machine. You’ll be able to do a real pullup.

3. Even if you can only do 1 or 2 pull-ups, do it – Practice makes perfect. If you can only do 1 or 2 pullups, but decide never to do them, how will you ever reach 10 pullups?

Stop making excuses and start doing pull ups. When I could only do 1 or 2 pullups I would perform 3-4 sets of assisted pull ups, and then do a couple of sets of body weight pullups,, even though I could only do 1 or 2.






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Ending the work week with a bit of carby indulgence…even though I know I shouldn’t.

Apple’s Arrabiata Fusilli


This meal is already 573 calories!?

But was it worth it?!


Did it contribute to me going over my calories for the day!?

(Unfortunately YES!)

Here’s the breakdown:

66g Fusilli = 232 calories

100g Chicken = 195 calories

40g  Broccoli = 14 calories

30g Carrots = 12 calories

1 tbsp Olive Oil = 120 calories

What can I say, I’m only human and like any other ordinary human who can only take so much clean eating before caving into saucy, carby goodness, I gave in. This was my post workout lunch which I convinced myself was well deserved since I worked out hard at the gym. I know it’s kinda unhealthy but I added some vegetables and chicken breast so at least I get my vitamins and protein in…and again…it was worth it.

Below is a clip of my intense weight training earlier today.

My coach had me do Super Sets which is basically a combination of exercises with dumbbells, done one right after the other with only a minute break after each set.

Shoulder Press – 3 sets – (10-8-6 reps)

Dumbell Squat – 3 sets – (10-8-6 reps)

Dumbell Rows – 3 sets – (10-8-6 reps)

I felt so much muscle burn during the work out, but I know it’s natural and all part of the tearing and building process….so endure the pain I will for the greater good of my future toned arms. The rest of the session comprised of another Super Set, dips, pull ups, rows on the rowing machine, dead lifts, and HIIT. Like I said, “well-deserved” pasta right? Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself…

Well that’s it for now. If you missed the beginning of this journey you can read about it here. Until then, stay tuned for more Apple Cider’s Journey to Fitness!


– Apple Cider :)


Squats: 8 Reasons to Do This Misunderstood Exercise


If you’re looking for a powerful way to boost your overall fitness and get some serious results — fast — from your workout routine, look no further than performing squatting exercises.This is one exercise that should be a part of virtually everyone’s routine, as it’s relatively simple to perform, requires no equipment, and can be done just about anywhere.More importantly, although squats are often regarded as “leg” exercises, they actually offer benefits throughout your entire body, including deep within your core…

The Top 8 Benefits of Squats

Most of you know that I’m an avid exerciser, and an avid exercise proponent.

If you haven’t yet started a regular exercise routine, you can find tips for doing so here.

Suffice it to say, a varied workout routine of appropriate intensity is one of the smartest health moves you can make, and adding squats to your routine is a must.

What makes squats such a fantastic exercise?

  1. Builds Muscle in Your Entire Body

    Squats obviously help to build your leg muscles (including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves), but they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building.In fact, when done properly, squats are so intense that they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body, which are vital for muscle growth and will also help to improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs.So squats can actually help you improve both your upper and lower body strength.

  2. Functional Exercise Makes Real-Life Activities Easier

    Functional exercises are those that help your body to perform real-life activities, as opposed to simply being able to operate pieces of gym equipment. Squats are one of the best functional exercises out there, as humans have been squatting since the hunter-gatherer days. When you perform squats, you build muscle and help your muscles work more efficiently, as well as promote mobility and balance. All of these benefits translate into your body moving more efficiently in the real world too.

  3. Burn More Fat

    One of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories is actually to gain more muscle! For every pound of additional muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. So, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will automatically burn 500-700 more calories per day than you did before.

  4. Maintain Mobility and Balance

    Strong legs are crucial for staying mobile as you get older, and squats are phenomenal for increasing leg strength. They also work out your core, stabilizing muscles, which will help you to maintain balance, while also improving the communication between your brain and your muscle groups, which helps prevent falls – which is incidentally the #1 way to prevent bone fractures versus consuming mega-dose calcium supplements and bone drugs.

  5. Prevent Injuries

    Most athletic injuries involve weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, which squats help strengthen. They also help prevent injury by improving your flexibility (squats improve the range of motion in your ankles and hips) and balance, as noted above.

  6. Boost Your Sports Performance — Jump Higher and Run Faster

    Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a mom who chases after a toddler, you’ll be interested to know that studies have linked squatting strength with athletic ability.1 Specifically, squatting helped athletes run faster and jump higher, which is why this exercise is part of virtually every professional athlete’s training program.

  7. Tone Your Backside, Abs and Entire Body

    Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, so it’s an excellent multi-purpose activity useful for toning and tightening your behind, abs, and, of course, your legs. Furthermore, squats build your muscles, and these muscles participate in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity, helping to protect you against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

  8. Help with Waste Removal

    Squats improve the pumping of body fluids, aiding in removal of waste and delivery of nutrition to all tissues, including organs and glands. They’re also useful for improved movement of feces through your colon and more regular bowel movements.

What’s the Proper Way to Perform a Squat?

Squats have long been criticized for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue.2 In the video below, personal trainer and coach Darin Steen demonstrates safe squat techniques for beginner, intermediate and advanced.

  1. Warm up
  2. Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart
  3. Keep your back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centered over your feet
  4. Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle
  5. Return to starting position — repeat 15-20 times, for 2-3 sets for beginners (do this two or three times a week)
  6. Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position

Adding Squats to Your Comprehensive Fitness Routine

Exercise is a key player in disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity. It’s really a phenomenal way to get the most out of your life! After reviewing 40 papers published between 2006 and 2010, researchers found that exercise reduces the risk of about two dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression. Exercise also slows down the rate of aging itself, even stimulating the regeneration of the energy-producing mitochondria in your cells, providing perhaps the closest example of a real life fountain of youth as we will ever find.

As with most things in life, a balanced routine works best, so you’ll want to avoid placing too much emphasis on cardio, strength training or any one type of activity. Many public health guidelines still focus primarily on the aerobic component of exercise, but this limited activity can lead to imbalances that may actually prevent optimal health.

This is why it’s so important to maintain a well-balanced fitness regimen that includes not just aerobics, but also strength training, stretching, and high-intensity interval training like Peak Fitness. For instance, Darin recommends beginners do 2-3 sets of squats just two or three times a week — do it more than this and you will miss out on important recovery time. As always, as you develop a workout routine that works for you, remember to listen to your body so it can guide you into a path that will provide you with the most efficient and effective benefits.






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10 Benefits of Deadlifts You Probably Never Knew


The Deadlift. It is the quintessential weightlifting exercise. According to David Robson, a bodybuilder, personal trainer and contributor to, “In my experience as an athlete, and based on the results witnessed by many of my personal training clients, the deadlift, if performed correctly, will build unparalleled mass while strengthening all the major muscles groups. Yes, many will argue that the squat is the King of Exercises, and will contribute to more strength and size gains than any other exercise.

“While it is true that the squat does rank as one of the best size builders (and on this basis alone should be included in everyone’s program), the deadlift, in my opinion, builds the upper and lower body like no other movement.”

The Deadlift is done by simply grasping your freeweight bar (with as many weights as you can feasibly – not comfortably – lift) and lifting up until your standing up with the bar hanging in front of you, arms extended.

1. Increased Fat Burning

Alwyn Cosgrove, a personal trainer and fitness author, recently wrote about a study where: “Overweight subjects were assigned to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights. The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound (15.6 pounds) than the diet group (training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).

The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn’t result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.”

Lifting weights and resistance training will burn more fat than just dieting or dieting with cardio exercise alone.

2. Better Posture

Deadlifting increases your core strength and adds to core stability, according to Robson. Deadlifting targets all of the muscles responsible for your posture and enables you to keep your back straighter during regular daily activities.

3. More Muscles Worked

The Deadlift works more muscles than any other exercise, including the squat. The lift engages all of the major muscle groups, according to exercise physiologist Kevin Farley. If you need to do one exercise, this is the one to do. The Deadlift works your lower and upper body, including your back muscles.

4. Increased Real Life Lift

When you do other lifting exercises, like a bench press, for example, you’re not doing anything you might really do in real life. When are you ever going to have the need to lay on your back and push something in the air — unless you’re giving your two-year-old “flying lessons.” The Deadlift develops the muscles you need to actually carry something, like a bucket of water, those heavy grocery bags or your neighbor’s dining room table.

5. It’s Safe

The Deadlift is one of the safest weightlifting exercises you can perform. You aren’t going to get pinned under the weight or have to worry about it pulling you over backwards. If you get into trouble, you can simply drop it…making for a loud bang, no doubt, but no damage. You also don’t have to have a spotter to perform this exercise.

6. Improved Grip Strength

According to Outlaw Fitness: “Deadlifts are renowned for their ability to build massive amounts of grip strength, and for good reason. Your fingers are literally the only things connecting you to the weight of the bar. Your forearms have to work incredibly hard as you progress in weight to keep the bar from falling out of your hands. Subsequently your grip strength grows by leaps and bounds.”

7. Increases Hormones

Now don’t worry, these aren’t the hormones that will make you more emotional! Instead, by doing at least 8 to 10 repetitions of Deadlifts with significant weight, you can increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone produced by your body. Testosterone increases muscle growth and improves muscle repair while growth hormone, which is produced by your pituitary gland, promotes tissue healing, bone strength, muscle growth and fat loss.

8. Cheap and Easy

A lot of exercises require a lot of equipment, special shoes or whatever. Not the Deadlift. Just a bar with some weight. Pick it up. Simple. You can usually find freeweights and a bar at a thrift store – or being given away by a friend – making it even cheaper.

9. Increased Cardio

Believe it or not, doing 10 repetitions of Deadlifts will increase your cardiovascular ability. You might want to make sure you have somewhere to sit down when you’re done!

10. Prevents Injury

The Deadlift can help prevent injuries by increasing the strength of your muscles around critical tendons and ligaments. Supporting joints with strong muscles is crucial to preventing injury, especially in the hamstrings and lower back, according to Outlaw Fitness.






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After all, pre natal exercise should be directed toward muscle strengthening to minimize the risk of joint and ligament injuries. This article will provide guidelines on pre-natal exercise and other health considerations.

What might be the benefits of weight training, and other forms of exercise, in the months leading up to childbirth? This was a question asked of me by my wife recently.

She is pregnant and like most women wants to ensure the good health of both herself and the baby she is carrying. This prompted me to research the area of pre-natal exercising. I found that it is beneficial to exercise while pregnant for a number of reasons.

Indeed, those who exercise while pregnant enjoy many advantages over their non-exercising counterparts.

These include:

  • Fewer problems experienced during childbirth
  • Enhanced post natal recovery
  • Lower incidence of backaches and less severe headaches
  • Enhanced body image
  • Feelings of wellbeing and happiness, and a positive self image
  • Increased energy levels
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Better circulation of blood to the extremities
  • Greater muscle strength and coordination, which helps with adjusting to increased bodyweight and changes in balance.
  • Pregnancy-related constipation avoidance

Although these benefits can be realized through exercise, certain guidelines do need to be followed. A pregnant woman is quite vulnerable and precautions need to be taken to ensure that certain exercise stresses do not have a deleterious impact.

After all, pre natal exercise should be directed toward muscle strengthening to minimize the risk of joint and ligament injuries. This article will provide guidelines on pre-natal exercise and other health considerations.

As a woman undergoes her special metamorphosis, as the pregnancy draws near, exercising might prove to be most beneficial in assisting overall pre-natal health and a successful birth.

In particular, avoid any exercise that involves lying on the front, as this will place pressure on the abdomen and cause pain. Instead, exercises should focus on the muscle groups that undergo pregnancy related stress.


The following exercises, with their corresponding body parts, are advised:

  • Dumbbell bench presses for the pectorals.
  • Dumbbell shrugs for the trapezius.
  • Bent over shoulder laterals for rear deltoids and rhomboids.
  • Hyperextensions for lower back.
  • Hip abductors (outer thigh) and adductors (inner thigh) for hip and pelvic region.

Exercise ball crunches and for the abs: training abs while pregnant can be problematic as the inferior vena cava is compressed when the back is in a flat position.

It is better to execute the crunch on an exercise ball in a supine (facing up) inclined position. The back muscles also benefit from this particular exercise through increased strength and flexibility.

Hip abductor/abductor and abb work also play a part in reducing lordosis of the spine.

As the fetus grows, the abdominal muscles are stretched and weakened and this causes the lower back muscles to shorten. Additional stretching of the hip-flexor muscles will prevent exacerbating the lordotic condition.

Exercise ball squats for quadriceps: hormonal (relaxin) increases result in softer connective tissue surrounding the joints, so try to refrain from deep knee flexion and, instead, concentrate on the upper part of the movement.

The exercise ball makes an excellent substitute for a regular bar squat and is a much safer option. The regular squat forces the wrist into a flexed position and this causes numbness and tingling in someone who is pregnant. The oedema (tissue swelling) associated with pregnancy causes compression of the median nerve in the wrist and when the wrist is flexed these symptoms occur.

Light weights should be used for all exercises to prevent any unnecessary stresses or strains. The rational for using these exercises exclusively, as part of the weight training component of an exercise routine, is they focus primarily on the areas that tend to weaken the most due to pregnancy.

The extra weight of the breasts during pregnancy tends to pull the shoulders forward shortening the pectoral muscles and over stretching and weakening the rhomboid and trapezium muscles in the back (Kyphosis).

During the preceding exercises one should therefore try to really stretch the muscles being worked. Also, worth noting is the value of moderation. It is best not too train to hard for too long as this may cause additional stress and negate the session’s benefits.

    Three full-body sessions per week, provided weights are light and motivation is high will be sufficient.

Although this article, strictly speaking, is about the benefits of weight training for the pregnant woman, it is worth mentioning the value of aerobics.

Aerobic training will assist the weight training sessions as it would in a regular exercise regime. Waste product removal, fat loss and enhanced cardiovascular function are three benefits to be gained from aerobic work. A 20-30 minute walk three to four times per week should be sufficient.

Guidelines & Precautions

Now that the exercises and training recommendations have been determined, certain guidelines need to be followed.

In response to a pregnancy a woman will undergo a series of changes that may impact exercise safety. Probably the most significant of these changes are cardiovascular.

During pregnancy, blood volume increases approximately 40% and the more blood that has to be circulated the faster the heart has to beat to complete this job. Heart rate and cardiac output increase as a result. Dizziness may also occur as a result of the additional pressure placed on the large veins in the back region that take blood back to the heart from the lower extremities.

This can have implications when training, and, as such, it is advised not to engage in work that involves lying on the back and elevating the legs.

In terms of cardiac output, it is best to monitor exercise intensity and keep track of heart rate. Heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute for longer than one minute as this could result in increased cardiac output and fatigue. Follow all exercise with at least ten minutes of cool down work to restore heart rate.

Metabolism and hormonal changes also occur during pregnancy. A woman’s core temperature will rise as a result of an increased metabolic rate and this could have serious consequences in terms of foetal health.

A significantly elevated body temperature can cause foetal damage making this particular problem precarious to say the least. The most vulnerable period is the first trimester (the first four weeks). To counter any potential problems drink plenty of water before, during and after training, avoid exercise in hot humid environments and stop often during the session to stabilise temperature.

The hormonal changes specifically revolve around the hormones estrogen, progesterone, relaxin and elastin. Connective tissues and joints are softened and relaxed in preparation for childbirth, dur to the interplay of these hormones, making a pregnant woman more susceptible to injury.

To counter these problems never overextend or engage in deep flexion of any type, warm up for longer than usual and avoid high-impact exercise that requires jarring, jumping or forceful movements.

In addition to pregnancy related changes and their considerations, one should also be mindful of the following.

  • Do not hold breath but continually breath throughout. In general, exhale on exertion.
  • Drink plenty of fluid before during and after training to prevent dehydration.
  • Check for abdominal muscle separation weekly. During pregnancy hormones cause the centre seam in the abdominal muscles to soften and stretch as the baby grows and the abdomen expands.
  • Ab training, as explained, should help to prevent separation but if it does the following can be done to correct it: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your abdomen with your fingertips pointing down toward your pubic bone. Exhale as you slowly lift your head and shoulders while pressing down and in with your fingers – that will encourage the abbs to reconnect.
  • Activities which require coordination and precise balance should be avoided. Increased weight, softening and increased mobility of joints and ligaments, and shifting centre of gravity may alter ones ability to coordinate muscles.
  • Muscles should be appropriately stretched before and throughout training.
  • It might be wise to reduce energy output as pregnancy progresses. A larger energy output will be required as more weight is gained and fatigue will occur more readily.
  • And most important of all: consult with your physician before undertaking any training program as there might be certain contraindications that only a qualified physician can identify.

Dietary Considerations

During pregnancy blood sugar levels typically drop quite significantly. Blood sugar levels will also fluctuate. In addition, noradrenaline (a hormone responsible for sending blood sugar into cells to be utilised) will be released during exercise.

The blood stream becomes dramatically low in blood sugar as a result of this and the aforementioned pregnancy related blood sugar lowering.

A pregnant exerciser who trains too hard for too long may feel dizzy and lose concentration as the brain uses only blood glucose (sugar) for energy. This could result in injury or worse. To avoid these consequences: eat about two servings of a high complex carbohydrate food (rice or potato for example) between 60 to 90 minutes prior to training.

During training, and indeed, pregnancy, correct nutrition is paramount. Folic acid will help to maintain overall health in general and reduce the possibility of neural tube defects (spina bifida and anencephaly) in particular. 400 micrograms per day is recommended.

Folic acid is a member of the B-complex family of vitamins and can be found, naturally occurring in green leafy vegetables, legumes and dried beans. Certain breakfast cereals contain sufficient folic acid.

Folic acid can also be consumed in supplement form or easier digestion and convenience.


Pregnancy is a special time, belied by the turmoil that takes place in a woman’s body. Hormonal, cardiovascular, metabolic and blood sugar changes create an environment where additional care needs to be taken, in particular when it comes to exercising.

Rather than stop completely and forgo the wonderful benefits of exercise, it is best to continue on, using the modifications suggested in this article. An expectant mother can enhance her transformation while maintaining her beauty and grace through exercise.






original post found here:

Apple Cider’s Journey To Fitness : Protein Shakes & Squats (3rd Week Update)

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It’s been 3 whole weeks of intense weight training, cardio workouts, sweating, and soreness but it’s really worth it coz I’m seeing some results…


Thats the result of every cardio session I do… Excuse my hairy & sweaty arms, but today I made “fat” cry….again!

I feel like my legs are getting stronger and increasing in flexibility. I never realized the importance of strength training before my journey

Here’s me doing squats!

Everyone should really have a post workout drink/shake. It really helps with muscle repair and building. Also satisfies hunger after a very hard workout.


Post Workout Protein Shake (Organic Almond Milk, Whey Protein, Banana, Watermelon & Papaya)

It’s all about protein. Protein. Protein. PROTEIN! And Many of my meals this week were packed with them.



50g Steamed Broccoli  = 17 calories

42g Cadia Tongol Tuna = 46 calories

112g Southwestern Quinoa = 160 calories 

Omelette = 200 calories

A total of 423 calories! I wasn’t even halfway done and already I was stuffed to my eyeballs with good ole’ clean protein…

Just a quick update this week and if you missed last time’s you can read about it here and here. Until then, eat clean and train mean!


-Apple Cider :)